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What should you do when you are suffering from insomnia? How should you spend your time?

We tackled sleeping comfortably during pregnancy yesterday. That post includes tips on how to deal with nasty stuff like leg cramps and heartburn, but let's face it a huge percentage of pregnancy women will simply not be able to get to sleep when they want to, at least on some days. What should you do when you are suffering from insomnia? How should you spend your time? Trying to go to sleep, or engaging in any type of activities? 

Trying to force yourself to go to sleep?

You've been to the bathroom a few times ehm, more like 10 and have done your relaxing evening yoga, meditation and stretching routine. You went to the bathroom a few more times, and then notice that all-too-familiar burning sensation. Pregnancy heartburn. Yet again. You get up and mix some baking soda into a glass of water. Ah, sweet relief. You should be ready to go to sleep now, shouldn't you? But an hour later, you are still awake. What should you do now?

You could stay in bed, think peaceful thoughts, change positions hundreds of times, and still be awake hours later. Or you could just get up, because trying to go to sleep really hard really is not the way to make it happen. What could you do if you decide to get up? There are plenty of official suggestions for insomniacs. I will stay away from those today. I've been pregnant twice (if you don't count the miscarriages, which somehow I don't anymore, these days) and I experienced brutal insomnia both times. I'll draw on my experience then, and tell you what worked for me. Things I have done after I decided I wasn't going to sleep any time soon include:

Giving in to the insomnia?

Here we're listing a few suggestions for chronic insomnia treatment

  • Bake a cake.
  • Clean the bathroom, which you'll be in most of the time anyway might as well make yourself useful :).
  • Peel potatoes.
  • Do prenatal yoga.
  • Go for a stroll outside, if your neighborhood is safe.
  • Wake your other half up and have sex. Mine says he really wants to wake up while receiving oral sex one day, but I am afraid the fantasy won't be that good in real life, so I have never done it.
  • Knitting or crocheting, perhaps something for your baby!
  • Have a shower or a bath.
  • Enjoying a glass of hot milk with honey and aniseed.
  • Write in a journal.
  • Listen to some boring music.
  • Listen to exciting music and dance the night away. You can sleep during the day. Perhaps.

Of course, you don't have to actually get up to distract yourself. If you have a television in your bedroom, or have a laptop or tablet, you are all set. Go watch some boring show, browse the web, or see a good movie. Yeah, I know that screen time is not recommended to an insomniac in theory. It worked for me. I'd also blog, participate in forums for mothers to-be, some of whom would inevitably be up at the same time, and I'd make lists of stuff I still needed to do before the baby got there.

A book is always a "nice alternative" to screens, though you would have to have a good one you are in the mood to read on hand. If not, try Kindle and back to the screens you are. So, what kind of story is best, whether you have a real book or an e-book? I loved stupid romantic fiction myself, and that is something I truly despise when I am not expecting a baby. If you watch thrillers or other scary stuff, you may not be able to sleep. And if you read detective novels, you will want to get to the end to find out "who did it" not helpful.

You could also phone or skype a friend in another time zone and have a good old gossip or just whine about how you can't get to sleep. Make sure you are not too loud, or else your other half (and other kids) will wake up. Remember, there is always chat, too. Or you could email. And did I mention Facebook? Or you could live tweet your insomnia. You see, plenty of stuff to do! Before you know it, you'll be so tired you nod off!

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